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Old 05-15-2022, 11:11 PM   #1
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Hot ground on the generator

Some background before I get into it. We have a 2000 Fleetwood Bounder 39Z DP with 30 amp electrical. Earlier today while traveling north on I-35 leaving Texas for Oklahoma we were running the generator and both A/Cs. It started to get hot inside the MH and the DW checked to find both A/Cs were not running, and nothing happened when she tried to cycle them back on. At that time, we noticed the generator also had shut down.

After stopping I checked and there was no light blinking on the generator which would have given us a code as to why it shut down. After checking all the breakers, generator, invertor/convertor and all service panel breakers I got the trusty meter out. After opening the generator 110-volt junction box and starting the generator I found the following. Leg #1, white to black wires recorded 122 volts. Leg #2, white to black wires 0 volts and to my surprise there was 120 volts from the black wire to the green ground. I'm not an electrician, but I don't think that should be the case.

As I will be contacting Cummins/Onan in the morning, I'm hoping that the experts on this forum might be able to give their input as to what happened, as our MH requires the generator to be dropped out from the bottom of the frame for any kind of repair or major service, normal oil changes are the exception.

We got to a campground earlier this evening and we found only the back A/C worked on shore power. After again going through all sort of checks, I flipped the front and rear A/C plugs on the climate controller. That flipped the working A/C to the front from the rear. Now since these old 30-amp climate controllers are prone to fail, I happened to have one and to my surprise installed it and we have both A/C working on shore power and all other circuits. Still noting on the generator.

Having the idea that something is wrong with generator, I got to thinking about the transfer switch. I believe I found "2 of them" behind the electrical breakers and they have twice the number of wires than one I found on the internet so I have no idea as to how to test them or why there are two on a 30-amp MH, I was only expecting one.

Again, I'm not an electrician although I can do somethings very carefully, I ask that, if at all possible, please put your suggestions in layman terms.

Any and all assistance and suggestions on this issue will be extremely appreciated. Thank You

Tom and Barb
2000 Fleetwood Bounder 39Z
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Old 05-15-2022, 11:39 PM   #2
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OK , from your description I believe your coach left the factory with only the one roof A/C unit and much of what you're seeing has been installed to power the second A/C unit.

Coaches with 30 amp power generally have only one roof unit , because the two units running at the same will overload the system .

Can you post pictures of what your seeing , that would be a big help.
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Old 05-15-2022, 11:41 PM   #3
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Your voltage test tells me that on leg 2, your white wire, which should be neutral, is open, and testing the black wire to ground shows you the correct voltage.
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Old 05-16-2022, 12:40 AM   #4
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Our MH left the factory with both a front and rear A/C. It also has an energy management system that allows both A/Cs to run on 30 amps, however they can't start at the same time. If, while they are both running, we should use a coffee pot then the system will shed, turn off, the rear A/C until that demand has been turned off and then the rear A/C will restart. However, if we turn something like the microwave on, that large spike will most likely trip the entrance service breaker before it can go into shedding mode. We have had this coach since 2008 and have learned exactly what we can and can't do with 30 amps and the management system. I'm not sure what you mean by pictures, if you can, please give me an idea of what you are looking for/at. Thanks for your input.

HarryStone

Thanks for your reply, you rightly pointed out my lack of knowledge and my error, because I forgot that the black wire is the "hot" wire not the white with AC voltage. What does it mean "the natural is open"? Has a connection been breached or separated?

Something I didn't post in the original post, after I found 0 volts on leg #2, white to black and then 120 volts black to ground, I went back and checked leg #1 black to ground and didn't get any voltage, since this leg isn't "open" should I have 0 or 122 volts on the black to ground?

Thanks again for your help, electrical wiring is not my strong suit, and I am very careful when I'm dealing with that, I guess that old saying "just smart enough to be dangerous" applies here. If you have additions ideas, they are gratefully appreciated.

Tom and Barb
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Old 05-16-2022, 02:09 AM   #5
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You need to check the white wire of the leg with no power. There may be a break in it.

Some junction box's, where the generator wiring meets the RV wiring, have been known to develop bad wire connections.

Reading 120 volt between black and ground on the generator wiring may be normal. Electrical systems bond neutral and ground at the power source and your generator is tha power source, while running.

You will have a second ATS just to take one AC off the main 30 amp shore power shedding system and move it to the second leg of the generator, while on generator power. Your shore power is 3600 watts, I'm guessing you have a 5500 watt generator with 2 leg output.
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Old 05-16-2022, 02:29 AM   #6
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Thank you for explaining why I have the 2nd ATS, that does help my understanding. As for my generator, it is the 7500 watt quiet diesel Onan with the two leg output and except for the cost of removing it from the frame to work on, it has been a great and reliable unit.

Would you think that because of the white wire with no power (open neutral?) would it cause an ATS to go bad, just asking? Since the generator is two legs, should I be able to run one A/C on the working circuit? With the generator running, we tried each A/C with the other turned off and neither one of them started is why I ask.

Thanks again for your help and explanations.

Tom and Barb
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Old 05-16-2022, 06:28 AM   #7
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How many wires coming from generator? 4 or 5? L1-L2-N1-N2-G. L1 (black) should have 120VAC to N1-N2-G and L2 (black) should have 120VAC to N1-N2-G.
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Old 05-16-2022, 06:55 AM   #8
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There are 5 wires coming out of the generator attaching to the MH wiring in the junction box. I will open up the junction box again and meter the voltage across all the combinations and post them shortly.

Thank You
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Old 05-16-2022, 07:52 AM   #9
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Opened up the junction box and here are the voltage readings;
L1 to N1 122 volts, L1 to N2 122 volts, L1 to G 122 volts
L2 to N1, N2 and G bounced between 0.0 and 0.2 volts (Cheap meter or stray voltage?)
L1 to L2 120 volts.

From what I have read and been told apparently that L2 line has a broken wire or a disconnection, is that what you see from the voltage readings?

I have a call into Cummins/Onan Oklahoma City and waiting for a return call, don't you just love it when that happens. Since our MH requires the generator to be dropped out of the frame in order to be worked on, most generator repair shops do not have that ability.

Thank you for your assistance it is greatly appreciated.

Tom and Barb
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Old 05-16-2022, 08:50 AM   #10
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Opened up the junction box and here are the voltage readings;
L1 to N1 122 volts,
L1 to N2 122 volts,
L1 to G 122 volts


This is normal. This is what you should also see when testing L2.

L2 to N1, bounced between 0.0 and 0.2 volts
L2 to N2, bounced between 0.0 and 0.2 volts
L2 to G bounced between 0.0 and 0.2 volts (Cheap meter or stray voltage?)


This is not normal. The "bouncing around" is typical of an open circuit.

L1 to L2 120 volts.

This may or may not be normal. It depends on how the generator is configured.

Some are configured for split phase 240 volts. Some combine the two windings to provide higher current at 120 volts.

From what I have read and been told apparently that L2 line has a broken wire or a disconnection, is that what you see from the voltage readings?

A wire in the L2 circuit is probably "open". It may be open inside the generator, or it may be open in connecting wires.

Diagnosis should be made before removing the generator. Depending on the actual fault, removal and re-instillation may be an expensive way to resolve a loose connection,

I have a call into Cummins/Onan Oklahoma City and waiting for a return call, don't you just love it when that happens. Since our MH requires the generator to be dropped out of the frame in order to be worked on, most generator repair shops do not have that ability.

Since you do not know if the generator is defective, you should find a service shop willing to troubleshoot the circuits in place. If it is a loose connector, they will probably be able to fix it without removing the generator.

I wish you good luck and happy trails ahead!
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Old 05-16-2022, 09:30 AM   #11
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Thank you for your reply, WOW you broke it down so simply, just what I needed and at my level, thank you.

The generator isn't showing any fault codes (blinking lights on this unit), so maybe it doesn't see the open circuit? As to your suggestion of finding a "service shop willing to troubleshoot the circuits in place", can that be done at the junction box wires? The reason for this question, there is no way to access any wiring inside the external conduit, about 3 feet in length, between the junction box and generator, nor is there enough room to remove any of the side panels/coverings on the enclosure. Yes, a few screws can be removed, but without dropping the generator out, nothing can be taken off in order to get at either wiring or other connections inside the enclosure. I truly am starting the envy those folks who have their generators on slide out trays.

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Old 05-17-2022, 06:03 AM   #12
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From your description, you may be correct. Access to wiring panel inside the generator is probably the next step.
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